Making the entire chain of Intratuin function smoothly
Intratuin has about 50 garden centres and is one of the best-known chains and market leader in the Netherlands. The extensive range of garden products, plants, garden tools and furniture continues to grow, as do the branches in Belgium and Germany. A large and dynamic company often requires an extensive IT landscape.
It is important to properly organize all business processes and the underlying technical systems to prevent losing the overview. This naturally results in satisfied customers. Intratuin approached Referit to integrate all processes in the entire chain. Leontine Straver, manager of infrastructure, system and application management at Intratuin, told us more about how they created order in a chaos of information and process flows and which results Intratuin has achieved so far.
Leontine Straver: ‘’BizTalk is the oil between all applications; with this you connect everythin.’’
A large company needs an extensive IT landscape. Intratuin has many different business processes, which makes it easy to lose the overview. The goal of Intratuin was to integrate all business processes in the complete chain (from order to delivery) and make all internal and external applications function smoothly. They are creating order in a chaos of information and process flows.
Eelco van der Graaf: ”Seven years ago, I was approached by a contact with the question of whether I would like to carry out an audit of a quotation they had received from another party. I had previously worked with this contact on a project at Hilton Food Group. At the time, he recommended me to Intratuin.”
”Referit needed to realize the Intratuin project within a specific time frame. Therefore, the question was whether this would be feasible in practice with the proposal described in the tender received”.
”I wrote an assessment for Intratuin, and a day after delivering it, I was invited to the office. Initially, it was not my intention to take on this project, yet I was asked to carry it out for them. With the question of whether I would be able to do it within the allotted time. Fortunately, that also turned out well.”
Eelco van der Graaf: ”The applications within the organization were largely already set up and then linked to BizTalk. You have to see it like this: different applications are connected to BizTalk, then all information and process flows are translated through BizTalk, and the entire chain processes are secured”.
For example: If an order comes in via the webshop, the chain of subsequent actions must, of course, run smoothly from order to delivery. The entirety of activities and all internal and external applications that must be involved in this (think of suppliers, order management and logistics) is secured in BizTalk. In short, it creates order in the chaos that can be a diverse landscape of applications and sources so that the process runs without problems. The business processes are secured, and correct information exchange is guaranteed.”
If you change something in the application for the PIM (Product Information Management), for example, changes must also communicate this to all peripheral systems. There are a lot of different systems running through each other, for each step in the chain there is another system behind it. This all communicates with each other through BizTalk. BizTalk is the oil between all the applications; you use it to link everything together.”
Leontine Straver: ‘’BizTalk is the oil between all applications, with this you connect everything.’’
Eelco van der Graaf: ”The system has, of course, been further developed in recent years. Whenever Intratuin revised the business processes, the consequence was that the system had to be set up differently.
If new applications are added, they must also be linked to BizTalk. Intratuin is a very dynamic organization, and a lot happens and changes, which constantly challenges me. For example, at the moment, we are working on introducing certain employees at Intratuin to Power BI. This allows them to track statistics such as the number of website visitors or conversion goals. This is currently still in the development phase.
In recent years, Intratuin has grown into an international organization with branches in Belgium. They are an essential supplier for various garden centres in Germany.”
Leontine Straver: ”We have been working with BizTalk for a long time, but it has gradually expanded. New interfaces have been added every time. You have a different interface for each purpose between the systems, which has to be written separately. The application landscape has expanded as you start working more in the chain so that BizTalk is put in between everything.”
Eelco van der Graaf: “There have been many projects within Intratuin in different areas of the organization. I have been working for 7 years now and I always get a lot of appreciation from the business and IT. I always enjoy working at Intratuin and feel very much at home.
You have to guarantee the business that the processes work well and that the IT landscape fits in well. By carrying out various projects, we can increasingly secure all the processes as a whole.”
Leontine Straver: “What I personally also find very nice is that via a monitoring tool, we immediately receive a report via our Service Desk. That way, we can directly work on a solution. You also have an immediate insight into where in the chain the error is.”
Leontine Straver: “Referit consists of Eelco for us. Eelco has a good overview, a real helicopter view of all the applications. When he started working for us, I was responsible for another part of the ICT. During that period, I set up the Service Bureau and Service Desk for Intratuin. I have been accountable for infra and application management for a year, and I also have direct contact with Eelco. I don’t know any better than that he is part of our team.”
Leontine Straver: ”Sometimes the entire process of a step in our chain lies within the business, and sometimes we use applications from outside for this (such as the cloud). Of course, this has to work well-streamlined next to each other.
Since August last year, Eelco has also been taking care of additional work for us outside BizTalk. We had a business analyst who fell ill while we were in the middle of the transition/addition to e-commerce. Outside of that person, Eelco knew everything about all of our business systems. We were in a bind with e-commerce at the time, and we wanted to go live with the webshop within a specific time frame. We then asked him to take over the project.
Eelco van der Graaf: ”In recent years, I have alternated periods of intensive project implementation with periods in which I worked less on location and more remotely. The contact with colleagues from the IT organization as well as from the business is excellent.
Leontine Straver: “Eelco is someone who can make a good transition between the business and the systems. That transition from the needs of the business and how he connects this with the help of BizTalk is fantastic.
My role within Intratuin has increasingly become a consultancy role. Initially, my involvement was mainly limited to taking care of the BizTalk system’s design, architecture, and implementation. Over time, I have become involved in more and more things and am currently fulfilling the business architect role on an interim basis.
We are in a continuous process of improving the design of the IT landscape so that the business is facilitated in the best possible way. We can also offer them the flexibility to respond quickly to the latest developments.